What's your connection to maternal health and how did you get involved?
As I was growing up, I developed a strong desire to uplift the female community. Women's health care is, and will always be, an important part of my life.
I am a board certified OB/GYN. When I finished my educational training, as opposed to taking a traditional health care job, I became a traveling doctor. I work everywhere from Alaska to upstate New York, and have the honor of caring for women from a number of different backgrounds and communities. Additionally, I have always been very passionate about community service. For example, I work with at- risk youth, I work closely with women in domestic violence situations, and I am a supporter of mothers2mothers – an organization dedicated to eliminating pediatric AIDS and creating health and hope for babies, families and communities.
What does maternal care mean to you and what caused you to become such a strong advocate?
For me, maternal care means providing moms with all the essential tools they need to have a happy and healthy pregnancy. This includes not only quality prenatal care, but also providing moms with anything else they need, from emotional support to information regarding financial assistance.
We all know that motherhood is very rewarding but, at the same time, pregnancy can be pretty tough. My job is to keep moms smiling throughout the whole process. In addition to being a physician, I am a shoulder to lean on, and I am a listening ear. I am whatever mothers need me to be in order to make their pregnancies healthy and happy.
What positive developments have you seen in maternal care recently?
Women are more vocal about issues impacting their health and the health of their children. The fact that women are speaking up and taking action has been instrumental in the progress we've seen over the years. With that being said, while our progress is impressive, we still have work to do. It is very important that we continue to move in the right direction.
Another positive development is the increasing desire of women to provide emotional support for each other. For example, in an effort to help one another, more and more women are opening up about issues that have impacted their health/ motherhood journeys. From infertility and recurrent miscarriages to postpartum depression, an increasing number of women are reaching out to one another to offer love and encouragement. That type of support system is extremely beneficial. I love that women are brave enough and caring enough to help each other.
What improvements still need to be made?
We have to have more open, honest conversations about which maternal care issues need to be improved. Once we have the conversations and identify the problems, then we can actually start to implement the changes that have to be made for us to see the progress that we need, want, and deserve.
This country has great potential. If we work together, and I mean really work together, the possibilities are endless. Let's educate, uplift, and empower each other, and let's really make this world a better place.